South Korea reimposes 10-day Covid-19 quarantines for all arrivals

SEOUL, 2 Dec 2021:

South Korea today announced a reimposition of mandatory quarantines for travellers from abroad, irrespective of their vaccination status, after the omicron variant of the coronavirus was detected in the country.

The measure will come into effect from tomorrow, Dec 3, and is expected to remain in force tentatively until Dec 16.

During this period, all travellers returning from abroad must undergo quarantine for 10 days in their homes or in government designated facilities.

Travellers must submit negative PCR test report before boarding and undergoing two additional PCR tests on South Korean soil – the first one a day after landing and the second one on the ninth day of quarantine, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Only certain senior executives, government officials and those attending funerals will be subject to exceptions.

Between Dec 3 and 16, the quarantine exemption certificates issued by South Korea for vaccinated travellers are will not apply.

The announcement coincides with the detection of the first cases of the omicron variant of Covid-19 in the country.

The first five confirmed infections are a fully vaccinated couple, and two women who recently travelled to Nigeria, and a friend of the same couple who was infected by being in contact with them in South Korea.

The government has now added Nigeria to the list of eight other African countries – South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Malawi – from where visas to the Asian country are restricted.

Moreover, from Dec 4 to 16, all flights on the only route directly connecting South Korea to the African continent – between Incheon Airport near Seoul and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia – will remain cancelled.

These measures come at a time when South Korea, which has so far kept the pandemic in check with only 457,000 total cases and 3,700 deaths, has been registering record daily infections of between 3,000 and 5,000 cases.